The Cutting Edge: A Podcast in Search of New Crops for Wisconsin

Join UW-Madison Division of Extension as they search for new crops for Wisconsin growers, processors, and consumers.  The strength of Wisconsin’s agricultural economy is its diversity…something that doesn’t just happen by chance.  It is a product of the relentless drive of researchers and farmers to innovate, explore, and experiment.  Join us for a glimpse into the exciting new research and development bringing new crops and diversity to Wisconsin.
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“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space”
                                                                                       – George Koepp

Meet The Cutting Edge Team

Jason Fischbach George Keopp Jerry Clark

Jason Fischbach

Producer, Co-Host

Agriculture Agent Ashland/Bayfield Counties

Carl Duley


Agriculture Agent

Buffalo County

George Koepp


Agriculture Agent

Columbia County

Ashley Olson


Agriculture Educator

Vernon County

Jerry Clark


Agriculture Educator

Chippewa County

Evan Henthorne


Agriculture Educator

Adams County


Episode #11: Chestnuts Part 1-Breeding

Recorded November 17, 2020

Hosts Jerry Clark and Jason Fischbach discuss chestnut breeding with Dr. Ron Revord and Dr. Greg Miller. After years of producer-led recurrent selection, chestnut production in the Midwest is coming into its own. A new program from the Center of Agroforesty seeks to build on that success and ramp up chestnut breeding and production.


Episode #10: Winter Spinach

Recorded September 15, 2020

Hosts Jason Fischbach and Ashley Olson discuss winter production of spinach in high tunnels with Chris Duke of Great Oak Farm and Bill Warner of Snug Haven Farm. Have a high tunnel greenhouse that sits empty all winter? Tune in and learn about the winter spinach option.


Field Notes:  Mechanical Harvest of Hybrid Hazelnuts

Recorded September 16, 2020

Host Jason Fischbach is on site with UW-Madison researchers Dave Bohnhoff and Scott Sanford testing mechanical harvesters on hedgerows of hybrid hazelnut shrubs. Is mechanical harvest of hazelnuts possible? Listen in.


Episode #9: Elderberry

Recorded September 1, 2020

Hosts Jason Fischbach and Carl Duley interview Chris Patton of the Midwest Elderberry Cooperative and Natasha Simeon of Regeneration Acres about elderberries. The interview covers production, products, marketing, and information about the elderberry cooperative.


Episode #8: Hemp for CBD

Recorded August 31, 2020

Hosts Ashley Olson and Jerry Clark interview Dr. Shelby Ellison about ongoing work to commercialize industrial hemp for CBD in Wisconsin.


Episode #7: Naked (hulless) Barley

Recorded August 25, 2020

Hosts Carl Duley and Jerry Clark interview Dr. Pat Hayes, Post-doc Brigid Meints, and Dr. Lucia Gutierrez about a nationwide effort to develop naked (hulless) barley into a food crop.



Field Notes: Hazelnuts – July 27

Recorded July 27, 2020

UW-Extension Agriculture Agent and UMHDI hazelnut researcher walks around his hazelnut field (in a storm) in late-July and provides information on doing yield ratings, getting ready for harvest, scouting for wildlife, and (ouch!) bald-faced hornets.




Episode #6: Prairie STRIPS

Recorded July 23, 2020

Hosts Joe Zimbric and Jerry Clark interview Iowa State’s Tim Youngquist and Omar de Kok-Mercado about Prairie STRIPS (Science-Based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips).  Prairie STRIPS are strategically placed native prairie plantings designed to intercept stormwater, build soil, and provide habitat for pollinators and other wildlife in row-crop fields.



Episode #5: Malting Barley

Recorded July 23, 2020

Hosts Carl Duley and Jerry Clark interview Dr. Pat Hayes and his malting barley crew at Oregon State University about breeding and growing malting barley for terroir-based flavor.



Episode #4: Kernza

Recorded June 22, 2020

Hosts Carl Duley and Jason Fischbach interview guests Colin Cureton, Supply Chain Development Specialist with the University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative and Valentin Picasso, UW-Madison Assistant Professor of Forage and Grazing. The interview covers efforts to develop intermediate wheatgrass into a crop for the Upper Midwest.



Episode #3: Hops

Recorded June 16, 2020

Hosts Carl Duley and George Koepp interview Peggy and Randy Urness of Fine Bine Farms.  Peggy and Randy discuss how they grow, harvest, process, and sell hops in Wisconsin.



Episode #2:  Hazelnuts

Recorded June 3, 2020
Hosts Jerry Clark and Ashley Olson discuss hazelnuts in the Upper Midwest with guests Jason Fischbach, UW-Extension Agriculture Agent, and Lois Braun, Research Scientist with University of Minnesota.  Lois and Jason have coordinated the Upper Midwest Hazelnut Development Initiative since 2007.


Episode #1:  Industrial Hemp

Recorded May 21, 2020

Hosts Jerry Clark and Carl Duley discuss industrial hemp with guest Dr. Heather Darby, Extension Agronomy Specialist with the University of Vermont.


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